Parker, Chris - Moving Forward Now,
I’m having a hard time comprehending the press release, as according to this drummer and band leader Chris Parker is just twenty years old. But that can’t be right, as he is also a saxophonist (providing that instrument on “Positive Energy” when Jay Tibbetts sits behind the kit), plays bass trombone in an orchestra, plays in numerous jazz bands and here he is with a debut album on his own label! The album contains a mix of originals and covers, with just one vocal (Rachel Caswell does a superb job of “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” while Craig Wagner’s guitar on the same song is sonorous and beautiful). What makes this album such a delight to listen to is that Chris is in total control of the kit, knowing when to use sticks and when brushes, as well as (and, incredibly importantly) when to play and when not to. He also has a deft touch on the cymbals, something that is often under-rated. This isn’t the crashing and bombastic form of course, but light triplets and touches that change the mood and show how he is driving the music along without being too in your face.
If this is the album he is releasing when he is just twenty, I find it hard to imagine what he will be doing in the next twenty. He is at home with musicians already well-known in the industry (guitarist Dave Stryker is one of the trio that opens the album with a wonderful “Battle Hymn Of The Republic”). Fresh and exciting, but looking back strongly into the golden age, this really is a wonderful debut from someone who is making a name for himself in the jazz scene at a tender age.